London-based singer/songwriter Lewis Watson got his start in music while still a teenager by quietly uploading cover versions of his favorite songs to a sleepy YouTube account in 2010.
The singer's spare acoustic guitar complemented his booming and slightly soulful voice on covers of tunes by the Knife, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bon Iver, and others, and before long he was uploading his own original compositions to great response. Watson began playing out in support of larger acts, and after a gig with his former music teacher Joe Porter, Porter offered up his production services in the recording of Watson's first studio material. The speedy sessions yielded four songs that were eventually released as the cheekily titled EP It's Got Four Sad Songs on It BTW. The buzz surrounding the 2012 release of the EP was enough to have numerous record labels knocking on Watson's door, eventually landing him a contract with Warner Bros. and hurling him into the world of festival performances, Billboard charts, and an ever-growing fan base. Response was so strong to his first EP that a second, Another Four Sad Songs, followed just months afterwards. Things moved quickly and Watson worked tirelessly on a third EP, this time aided by big-ticket songwriters and producers including Richard Wilkinson (Kaiser Chiefs), Mr. Hudson, and collaborators Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, and many others. In early 2013 this third EP, Wild, was released. It, too, contained four sad songs, but revealed a heightened confidence and glossier production values than Watson's first two releases. Two more EPs followed in 2013, and Watson's debut full-length album, The Morning, was finally scheduled for release in July of the following year, boasting a much more full-bodied production than before; it also came in a Deluxe Edition that contained every song Watson had ever released. After parting ways with Warner Music, Watson took time to focus on his songwriting. After collecting a wealth of new material, he entered the studio to record what would become his sophomore album. Signing to long-running indie Cooking Vinyl, Watson released his second full-length, Midnight, in early 2017. ~ Fred Thomas